Illuminating the Legacy: The Coram Nobis Cases and the Ongoing Fight for Asian American Civil Rights

  • 02 May 2023
  • 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (EDT)
  • Webinar


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Coram Nobis


[Latin, In our presence; before us.] The designation of a remedy for setting aside an erroneous judgment in a civil or criminal action that resulted from an error of fact in the proceeding.

(law) A kind of legal order allowing a court to correct its original judgment upon discovery of a fundamental error which did not appear in the records of the original judgment's proceedings and would have prevented the judgment from being pronounced.

A writ to correct an injury caused by a mistake of the court.

The writ of coram nobis is one of those obscure concepts that we learned about in law school and promptly forgot. After all, it gets little use and was even abolished in civil actions by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. But it is still viable in criminal proceedings and, in living memory, played a pivotal part in Asian American history.

The Japanese American Coram Nobis cases—Hirabayashi v. United States, 828 F.2d 591 (9th Cir. 1987); Yasui v. United States, 772 F.2d 1496 (C.A. 9); and Korematsu v. U.S., 584 F.Supp. 1406, 16 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1231 (N.D.Cal. Apr 19, 1984)—are considered among the most notable cases in American jurisprudence and Constitutional and legal history. For the Asian American community, these cases are pivotal in their understanding of and appreciation for civil rights and social justice. Now, some 80 years since the original convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred Korematsu, and 40 years since the coram nobis efforts on their behalf, we examine the legacy of those cases and their influence and impact upon Asian American civil rights and social justice efforts today.

The Asian American coram nobis cases have never been more relevant than today when democracy is challenged by claims of “fake news,” election deniers, and concerns about fact checking social media.

Please join us for a conversation and roundtable discussion in which we’ll discuss the history of the Japanese American coram nobis cases and explore how they inspire the current generation of Asian American civil rights activists.


  • Rod Kawakami, Law Office of Rodney Kawakami, Co-Lead Trial Attorney and Lead Counsel for Gordon Hirabayashi in the Oral Argument Before the Ninth Circuit
  • Karen Korematsu, Executive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute
  • Peggy Nagae, Owner, Peggy Nagae Consulting and Lead Attorney for Minoru Yasui
  • Amrith Kaur Aakre, Legal Director, The Sikh Coalition
  • Angela Hsu, Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP and Asian American Crime Victims Fund
  • Brandon Mita, Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, PC and National Legal Counsel (Pro Bono), Japanese American Citizens League (Moderator)
  • Megan Nakano, Executive Director, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois and Director, Japanese American Citizens League, Chicago Chapter
  • Sufyan Sohel, Senior Advisor of Special Projects, Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”)

The program is being offered free of charge to all lawyers and staff for IILP’s Visionary Partners, Partners, and Allies. Unsure if your firm/company supports IILP? Find out here.

The program is open to the public.


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